My eldest son Louis has grown and flown, and I couldn't be prouder. He has just begun a degree at Edinburgh College of Art, part of Edinburgh University. He's twenty years old and it's so wonderful to see the twin worlds of possibility and opportunity opening up before him. I myself never went to university in the traditional sense, much less art college with all its fantastic resources and shared motivation... Everything I know, I have essentially taught myself. Whilst there is a certain satisfaction in that, it is a long and sometimes lonely road. Part of the problem is that I only worked out that I needed to be a photographer a handful of years ago..
If I had my time again would I do things differently? Perhaps.. perhaps. But now I get to watch my boy walking a path which I hope will set him up with stronger foundations than I gave myself, and enable him to build the life and career he wants with more efficiency and success than I have. If our children learn from our mistakes and evolve past the point of their parents, then all is right with the world.
The name 'Auld Reekie' comes from the old scots meaning 'Old Smokey' and refers to the days when there were so many hearth fires burning, the city was permanently covered by a haze of smoke and it has always stuck in my mind. I've had a life-long connection with Edinburgh. My aunt, uncle and cousins always lived there. Sadly, my uncle died a few years ago and one cousin has moved away (Paul, you are missed) but it was good to visit again with such a new and fresh purpose. To re-visit old haunts and to catch up with family (Sara, thanks again for giving up your bed). Being shown around by my own son was a special feeling and strengthened the sense of pride I have in watching him grow in confidence and independence.
The three days I was there were (not surprisingly for Scotland in November) - cold. The sun was winter-low and it was dark by 4.30pm. It made for a lot of bright contrast, dark shadows and fleeting daylight hours. After a good bit of strolling about town visiting the college, the library and miscellaneous places of interest, we discovered that a short half-hour train ride away is the small coastal town of North Berwick. It provided a nice counterpoint to the city centre...
Grow well Louis. Exciting times :)
Click for large.